World shock at Putin’s invasion of Ukraine obviously sidelines Thailand’s entry and exit problems, but nonetheless they certainly abound. It can safely be assumed that tourist arrivals from both Russia and Ukraine will be sharply reduced to say the least, whilst there are already rumors of cancelled flights in both directions.
Many Russian tourists are already returning in haste, whilst flights to Ukraine are jeopardized by the shelling of Kyiv’s main airport. The Tourist Authority of Thailand confirms today that the negative effect is “instant” and that attempts are being made to evacuate the 250 Thai citizens thought to be trapped in Ukraine.
As regards the Russians and Ukrainians still in Thailand, thought to number tens of thousands, their extension of visa options are narrowing. Although the 60 day “Covid extensions” are still technically available until next month, they are at the discretion of each Thai immigration office. This was confirmed by the Bangkok immigration hotline earlier today.
However, some Russian and Ukrainian tourists in Thailand have already lobbying their local immigration offices for extensions of stay. Inquiries have centered around annual visas for marriage and retirement, as well as Elite visas, as tourist extension opportunities run out. Officials at Chonburi Immigration said that business was relatively quiet with no long queues.